A Rose For Emily By William Faulkner

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People are subject to decay and death – these are inevitable aspects of life. In “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, Emily epitomizes these concepts as she attempts to hold on to the past. Emily is among the last of the Griersons – an aristocratic older family that had lost their influence after the Civil War. She is exposed to the fast changing perspectives and ideals of her town, Jefferson, and she refuses to relent as she continues to uphold her traditional southern values and social status. Emily progressively decays because she chains herself to the past and because of her uncompromising attitude towards the modernization of her environment. She then meets Homer Barron, a potential suitor from the North. However, Emily resorts to the extremes to keep him by her side and poisons him. Her intransigence encompasses her struggle to remain relevant during Jefferson’s development. Emily Grierson’s insistence on living in the past and her refusal to change establish her as the embodiment of decay through the descriptions of her house, her stubbornness, her appearance, and the poisoning of Homer Barron. Faulkner embodies Emily as a representation of decay through the descriptions of her house. Emily’s house “that had once been white . . . on what had once been our most select street” (95) is the manifestation of her deterioration and isolation from the community. This contrast between the former grandiose appearance and the deteriorating present state of the house

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